KM4RE: Cobb County Schools’ Only Amateur Radio Club

Five Time National Champions! Students at Russell Elementary are operating an amateur radio station that has made contacts on six continents and has won five national titles!

The Russell Elementary Amateur Radio Club began informally in 2015 when some 4th and 5th grade students asked about how they could become licensed amateur radio operators. They stayed after school for several weeks studying. Some of them passed the FCC’s exam, earning a technician class license to operate on amateur radio frequencies.

Over the past 4 years the club has grown tremendously. Russell now has a permanent club station from which they have made radio contacts in 49 states and 39 countries all over the world and on every continent except Antarctica!

In 2016, the club formed a competition team to compete in the biannual School Club Roundup. This event lasts for a week, during which school radio clubs all over the country operate their stations for a total of 24 hours in an attempt to score points by making as many contacts as possible in as many different locations as possible. KM4RE’s competition team calls themselves the DX Roadrunners (DX is radio terminology that means “long distance”). The DX Roadrunners have won 5 of the last 6 national championships in the School Club Roundup, and are currently awaiting the results for a possible 6thnational championship, which would be their fourth consecutive win. The team competes in the elementary class, but twice they have scored higher than any team in any class including the college/university class, outscoring teams from places like Georgia Tech, MIT, and Harvard.

The club is always looking for ways to improve the station. It does not charge any club dues so that the program may be available to all of the families in the school. The club is funded entirely by donations and grants.

Laura Franco
Title I District Academic Coach

Contributing Author: Kelly Bodner, Title I District Academic Coach – Science

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